If you are immune-compromised, find out what kind of treatment your water supply has.
Refer to the information in HealthLink BC File #56: Weakened Immune Systems and Water-borne Infections.
- If your local drinking water providere has issued a Boil Water Notice for your community water system, take the advice seriously.
- Do not drink untreated surface water from a spring, stream, river, lake, pond or shallow well. Assume it is contaminated with animal feces. Boil or filter water from these sources that is used for
- making ice cubes
- washing uncooked fruits and vegetables
- making baby formula
- brushing teeth
- rinsing dentures
- any purpose where consumption will occur without adequate heat treatment.
- When camping, do not relieve yourself within 100 feet of a water source.
- If you have a cryptosporidium infection, do not swim in lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, swimming pools and hot tubs while you have diarrhea and until at least 48 hours after the diarrhea has stopped. Avoiding this activity will help to ensure that other swimmers do not become infected.
- Do not drink unpasteurized milk or juices.
- WASH YOUR HANDS:
- Before eating
- Before handling food
- After using the toilet or changing diapers
- After touching animals
- Make sure children, particularly those who handle pets, wash their hands carefully before eating and on a regular basis if they suck their thumbs or put their hands in their mouths.
- There are two methods to eliminate Cryptosporidia from water:
- Boiling: Bring water to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute and then allow it to cool. At elevations over 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) you should boil water for at least 2 minutes to disinfect. Boiling will not purify water that is obviously heavily polluted or chemically contaminated.
- Filtering: To effectively remove cryptosporidium cysts, filters must have an absolute pore size of 1 micron or be rated by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) for cyst removal. Cysts are 4 to 6 microns in length and will not pass through a filter pore of 1 micron. Some portable water treatment units used for camping meet the above requirements.
Jug-type water filters are not effective in removing cryptosporidia. Some built-in water filtration systems will remove cryptosporidia, but they need regular and thorough maintenance to work effectively.
Other types of water treatment units, such as distillation units, reverse osmosis and combination (filtration and ultraviolet) units are also available. Check with local water purification suppliers or your local environmental health officer for more detailed information.
Cryptosporidia are resistant to chlorine. Treating water with chlorine will NOT remove the parasite.